Bluejays win pair of slugfests with Warriors

The sixth-rated Tabor College women picked up their 15th straight win Thursday night in Hillsboro, defeating long time nemisis Sterling, 61-58.

But it wasn’t easy.

Tabor hit just three first half field goals and only kept the Warriors within striking distance by virtue of hitting 10 of 14 first half free throws, but trailed 28-16 at halftime.

But the Bluejays defended their home turf better in the second 20 minutes as they rallied to catch and surpass the Warriors in a wild and hard fought second half.

Thanks to a 16-3 run to start the half, Tabor grabbed a 32-21 lead with 14:18 remaining.

From then on, the game featured 13 lead changes and five additional ties before the Bluejays took their final lead at 59-58 on a pair of Jill Hein free throws with just 1:01 to play.

Donya Anderson added a pair of charity tosses with 27 seconds remaining and then swatted a 3-point attempt by Sterling’s K.C. Bassett as the clock expired to preserve the Tabor lead and victory.

Hein led the Bluejay offense with 20 points, hitting 5-5 field goal attempts and 10 of 12 from the free throw line. Stacie Herman added 11 points while Anderson and Erica Hemmert both scored 10.

Hillary Stucky led the Warriors with 15 points.

Tabor converted 29 of 37 free throws (78 percent) while Sterling managed to make 16 of 21 (76 percent) from the stripe.

The Bluejays were 15 of 37 from the field (41 percent) including two of seven (29 percent) from the 3-point line while Sterling hit 19 of 50 field goal attempts (38 percent) including four of 10 (40 percent) from the 3-point line.

Sterling was guilty of 22 turnovers resulting in 19 Tabor points while the Bluejays had a more efficient 14 turnovers.

The win improves Tabor’s overall record to 18-3 and gives them a 3-game cushion in the KCAC race with an 11-0 conference mark while Sterling falls to 8-3 in the KCAC and 14-6 overall.

The Tabor men faced a similar plight and trailed the Warriors 36-25 early in the second half before coming on late for a 59-52 win.

Tabor’s defense limited Sterling to just seven of 32 field goal attempts in the second half (22 percent) as the Warriors finished the game hitting 20 of 59 (34 percent) from the field.

Tabor meanwhile, hit 20 of 44 for the game (46 percent) and out scored the Warriors 34-19 in the final 20 minutes.

Brad Gattis led Tabor with 20 points and Grant Brubacher added 10.

Sterling was led by Trey Peters with 18.

With the win, Tabor remains just one game behind front running Southwestern College in the KCAC race with an 8-3 conference mark while improving to 11-9 overall.

Sterling falls to 6-5 and 11-10.

The Bluejays host the Moundbuilders from Southwestern College this Saturday night with the women’s game scheduled to begin at 5:00 and the men to follow at 7:00.

Your support will be greatly appreciated.

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